History of No. 3
PACIFIC COAST NO. 3 “MELODIA”
By E.J. Kelley
Built as an 0-6-2T by H.K. Porter in 1897, No. 3 was the first of two locomotives to be purchased by the Barker & LePine Company of LaFourche Crossing, Louisiana. The second, a Baldwin 0-4-4RT, arrived in 1902. Curiously, neither locomotive carried a road number; the Baldwin was named “Maud L.” for the 2-year-old daughter of plantation co-owner J. Wilson LePine, and it is speculated “Melodia B.” was for a matriarch of the Barker family. Melodia was a common French woman’s name, and Melodia Switch was also the delivery location listed for Barker & LePine’s locomotives on the Southern Pacific (Texas & New Orleans) Railroad.
After a half-century hauling sugar cane on the company’s Laurel Valley Plantation in Thibodaux, LA, Melodia B. was retired from active service and, by 1953, was in the hands of Arthur LaSalle of Hilliard, Florida. LaSalle, who had purchased the “Maud L.” in 1946, performed various locomotive restorations under the moniker of “American Railroad Equipment Company.” In 1961, LaSalle overhauled and sold the “Maud L.,” along with his Davenport 2-6-0 from the St. John Plantation, to George Roose of Sandusky, Ohio, where they became the first motive power of the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad.
In 1960, LaSalle sold “Melodia B.” to Hubert Mitchell Industries of Hartselle, Alabama, who again sold it shortly after to James Freeland of Hillsborough, North Carolina. It is believed Freeland, owner of the Daniel Boone Village amusement park, contracted Crown Metal Products of Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, to rebuild the locomotive into a 2-6-2. Crown, which specialized in the construction of 15”-36” gauge replica locomotives for amusement parks, modified the running gear to fit a stock Monroe Bros. boiler already on the floor for one of their 3’ 4-4-0s. Rebuilt around 1963-1964, the locomotive remained in Hillsborough until 1970, when it was sold to Pat Hall, developer of the Carowinds theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina. When the park opened in 1973, the locomotive became No. 1 of the “Carowinds & Carolinas Railroad,” retaining the name “Melodia” on one side of the cab while lettered “EPH” on the other in honor of the park’s creator, Earl Patterson Hall. While the successful park continues operation today under Cedar Fair, LP, the 3’ railroad was short lived, closing after just a few seasons of operation.
A small Porter 0-6-2RT, similar to how “Melodia B.” might have looked in active service, on the Westfield Plantation, Painecourtville, LA. It was built for the Dugas & LeBlanc Company of LaFourche and today survives in Lampasas, TX, under private ownership.
After time in storage at Carowinds, the “Melodia,” along with her consist of ornate coaches, were sold to George Roose, who maintained them as part of his personal collection. Leased briefly to Wild World in the early 1980s, the locomotive, which did not operate at the Largo, MD, amusement park, was sold after Roose’s death to the late Bill Norred of Oxnard, CA. As he’d done with his other locomotives, Norred sent the “Melodia” to Shop Services of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, for a significant rebuild, which included lowering the boiler and making other alterations to the locomotive. Incidentally, the former Carowinds No. 2, a standard Crown 4-4-0, was on the floor in Mt. Pleasant at the same time, being rebuilt for “King of Pop” Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. It has run in Los Olivos, CA, just over an hour from Santa Margarita and the terminus of the original Pacific Coast Railroad, ever since.
In 2000 the “Melodia,” along with the four ex-Disneyland Railroad “Retlaw One” coaches and Vulcan No. 2, were acquired by Rob Rossi from the Bill Norred estate. One year previous, Disney traded the 1927 Davenport they had received in exchange for those coaches to Cedar Point, in turn acquiring the former Barker & LePine Forney “Maud L.” Rebuilt by Boschan Boiler & Restorations of Carson, California, the locomotive went into service as Disneyland Railroad No. 5 “Ward Kimball” in 2005. To this day, Melodia’s sole stable mates from both the Laurel Valley Plantation and Carowinds, are all three operating within a 250-mile radius in Southern California. Who’da thunk it?